The first five Falco novels are available as BBC radio drama productions. They were originally produced as serials on Radio 4, though increasingly they pop up on digital Radio 4 Extra, especially at Bank Holidays and are available each time for 30 days on the BBC i-player). The BBC have also re-licensed them as downloads to purchase and also (I think) physical CDs.

The drama versions are adapted for radio by Mary Cutler, one of my oldest friends, who was in my class at school, the senior scriptwriter of The Archers. They were produced in Birmingham by Peter Lesley Wild. Anton Lesser is Falco. The late Fritha Goodey was Helena in The Silver Pigs; since then Anna Madeley has played the part. A growing cast of ‘regulars’ include Ben Crow as Petronius, Francis Jeator as Ma, Trevor Peacock as Pa, Michael Tudor Barnes as Vespasian and Jonathan Keeble as Titus.

My feelings about these adaptations are that Mary does the best possible job. A great deal has to be lost from the books and, sadly, it will usually be Falco’s musings – which, to me, are one of the main attractions. Another problem is that people complain the voices are not what they expect or what hear in their heads when they read. Well, my dears, that’s why I think nothing can beat books!

A reader asked about that tantalising tune they use to introduce the radio plays. The track is called “Baile de Procesion” from an album called THE LANGUAGE OF SNAKES by Andrew Cronshaw. Thanks to reader Bobo for the information that “it was transcribed, as played on a dulzaina accompanied by a tamboril, by Agapito Marazuela Albornos for his Cancionera de Castilla, a collection of music from the Castilla region of Spain made between 1915 and 1925”.

As far as I know it’s still on the Special Delivery label, SPDCD 1050.